A few commenters mentioned this yesterday, and we think it's a fair question: When is it OK to laugh? The guy we wrote about who plummeted 75 feet off a cliff in his golf cart was, after all, a real person, with a family and pets and an active Netflix account. But the first thing we thought of when we encountered the story was, we're glad he wasn't carrying our clubs. Is laughter permitted on such occasions? By posting that story, are we uncaring louts?
When facing such a question, we inevitably defer to the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode Chuckles Bites the Dust, which examines the topic better than we ever could. In the episode, Chuckles, who has a children's show on the station, is killed in a tragic accident: While dressed as Peter Peanut, he is shucked to death by an rogue elephant. Everyone at the station makes jokes about it, except for Mary, who is shocked that people would make light of a person's death. Of course, at the funeral, it's Mary who can't keep a straight face during the eulogy.
There was always some deeper meaning to whatever Chuckles did. Remember Mr. Fee Fi Fo's little catch phrase? Remember how when his arch rival, Señor Caboom, hit him with a giant cucumber and knocked him down? Mr. Fee Fi Fo would always pick himself up, dust himself off, and say, 'I hurt my foo foo'. Life's a lot like that...from time to time we all fall down and hurt our foo foos.
Ain't that the truth. As Lou Grant wisely said, we laugh at death, because we know that someday death will have the last laugh on us. When we die, we can think of no more fitting memorial than a long string of commenter jokes. Just don't mention our singing.
The Real Tragedy Is That My Cell Phone Was In There [Deadspin]
Chuckles Bites The Dust [Wikipedia]
Chuckles Bites The Dust, Part III [Youtube]